What does the Bible
say about Facebook?

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QUESTION: Does the Bible teach anything related to using Facebook? How should we use social media sites?

ANSWER: The Bible says nothing directly about Facebook. The Scriptures were finalized more than 1,900 years before this social media site came to life on the Internet.  What we can do, however, is examine how principles found in the Scriptures can be applied to social media Web sites. 

Computers allow people to create gossip faster than ever before. Once created, sites like Facebook make it easy for the gossip to reach a WIDE audience - not just your friends or even those who live near you - but the whole world!   People can say almost anything online and get away with it, especially when they do so anonymously.  Romans 1 lists "backbiters" as a category of sinner to avoid becoming.

. . . being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality . . . they are whisperers, BACKBITERS . . . (Romans 1:29 - 30)

Backbiters are people who speak down or against others. 

Gossip can be true information that attacks other people - it need not be false or half-true.  We have to be wary of telling lies, rumors or out-of-context half-truths about others when posting online. The Bible is clear about what it thinks of gossip and lying.

You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor . . . (Leviticus 19:16)

You sit and speak against your brother; You slander your own mother's son. (Psalm 50:20, see also Proverbs 11:13 and 20:19)

What does the Bible say about the truth versus lies?
What does the Bible say about watching our mouth?
What are we warned about losing trust on social media?
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Another problem with social media like Facebook is that it can become addictive and encourage spending too much time on the site itself. Such sites can be a big time waster when one's life should be spent on other activities - such as prayer, studying the word of God, and so on.  After all, if someone says, "I don't have time to pray or study the Bible," but finds an hour each day to visit Twitter, etc., that person's priorities are skewed.  Using social sites can at times be beneficial or even good to a degree.  But, if we spend too much time on them, it's wrong. 

There is a third problem, though subtle, that social sites can feed into. They can encourage interacting with others mainly or solely through electronic means rather than with face-to-face contact. Our relationships can become superficial if we primarily interact with people online and not in person.

There is one text that might relate directly to the Internet, modern telecommunications (including television and radio), and maybe even to Twitter, Facebook and others: "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" (Daniel 12:4).

This scripture may have a dual meaning.  It could refer to knowledge of the Bible increasing as the meaning of Daniel's prophecies became more clear over the centuries as they were fulfilled.  But it could also refer to human knowledge in general increasing at a fast pace - a pace made possible by the computer revolution.  Furthermore, since we now have relatively cheap transportation like cars and planes, people are literally running to and fro around the world.

Many technological innovations become good or bad depending on how they are used, not because they exist of themselves.  Even a gun can do good, such as when it's used for hunting, but it's evil when used to murder someone.  Although the Bible does not specifically address how to use Facebook (or many of the things we use or run into today), its principles can still be applied to guide us on how we should view and use such modern inventions. 

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